Background: Cleanup of areas contaminated by explosives is a public health concern. Some explosives can be carcinogenic in humans. Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN), a powerful explosive with very low water solubility, can be easily transported to ground waters. 

Objective: This study was conducted to determine the removal efficiencies of PETN from soil by bioremediation, and obtain kinetic parameters of biological process.

Methods: This experimental study was conducted at the Environmental Health Engineering Lab (Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran) in 2015-2016. In the present work, bioremediation of the explosive-polluted soils by PETN in anaerobic-aerobic landfarming method was performed. The influence of seeding and biosurfactant addition on bioremediation was also evaluated. The data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel software.

Results: The results show that, as the initial concentration of PETN increased, the lag phase was increased and the specific growth rate was increased up to 0.1/day in concentration of 50 mg/kg, and then it was decreased to 0.04/day. Subsequent decreases in specific growth rate can cause substrate inhibition. Seeding causes decrease in lag phase significantly. Biosurfactant addition had little to no impact on the length of lag phase, but biosurfactant plus seeding can increase the growth rate to 0.2/day, however, inhibitory effect of the initial concentration was started in very high concentration of PETN (150 mg/kg). 

Conclusion: Biosurfactant addition and seeding together have an impressive effect on biodegradation of PETN, furthermore seeding can enhance active microbial consortium and biosurfactant can improve the poor aqueous solubility of PETN, therefore making the substrate more accessible.


Keywords: PETN, Soil, Bioremediation, Nitrate, Nitrite, Kinetic parameters
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